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Direct Response Advertising & Infomercial Production

DR Advertising & Infomercial Production

Archive for Digital Marketing

Eulogizing a Friend Who’s Time Had Come

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Eulogizing a Friend Who’s Time Had Come

The year was 1990. I was working in mainstream advertising. Shooting commercials for Madison Avenue shops that wound up on Super Bowls, Academy Awards, Olympics, and prime time. There was some prestige, but no accountability. And there was a strange new type of advertising brewing. Long commercials. They were tacky and cheesy, yet captivating. They invited people to call and order unique products they could not get anywhere else.

They were called infomercials.  I snuck out, under cover I thought, to attend a conference at the Mirage in Las Vegas for a group called NIMA. It stood for National Infomercial Marketing Association. I snuck because I did not want my ad agency clients to know I was there. It would somehow tarnish my cool image.

Yet, somehow, I wound up in People magazine. My cover was blown. I was now, whether I liked it or not, part of the infomercial business.

There was a vitality and spark about the NIMA people that didn’t exist with the Madison Avenue crowd. I met all sorts of people and didn’t fully understand what they all did. But I collected hundreds of cards and networked.

And gradually some of those people started to hire me to produce their infomercials. It was exciting and scary because they knew right away how many people were calling and ordering. The immediacy was incredibly exhilarating.

I lived a double life for several years, shooting Madison Avenue spots while sneaking around with the infomercial crowed. I just could not pull myself away from them. It was like driving on the highway and seeing an accident, the blood, not wanting to look, but somehow not able to turn away.

And I always looked forward to those NIMA conferences. I became a member. I went to all the conferences and met more and more amazing people.

We networked on the show floor, in the hallways, in restaurants, in the airports, on the planes. In fact, I met one of my largest clients on a plane coming back from a conference. It was fantastic. I worked with famous actors and models, musicians, circus animals, athletes, Doctors, and tons of real people who testified through affidavit that the product they used changed their lives forever and ever.

NIMA changed their name to ERA (Electronic Retailing Association) and added more conferences. Miami. Vegas. Washington. Europe.

At one point, just after 9/11 in NYC, in a moment of reckoning, I abandoned Madison Avenue and went full throttle into the client direct business. ERA became my best friend. Most of my business came directly through ERA functions. I volunteered for committees, became part of a community, people started to know and trust me, and I started to forge life long friendships.

Each year, the ERA dues went up and up. Membership started declining. The shows seemed more and more empty. People did business in suites, in other hotels, bars, many never even came to the host hotel.  It all crumbled.

I began to feel my dues were more like a charity contribution. And if I really wanted to contribute to a charity, I would send to St. Jude, not ERA.

So, with much guilt, I stopped paying dues in 2017. I saw no value proposition and was receiving nothing in return. And apparently I was not the only one.

I watched my dear friend ERA die a slow and excruciating death, until its final breath on June 1st, 2018, the day I received an email that ERA was no more. That ERA could not continue operating “in the face of declining dues receipts, fewer sponsorships and an overall shortage of revenue coupled with burdensome expenses”.

 

With terminal illness, you know that death will come; yet when it does, it is still a shock. 28 years of friendship. Now death. So final. So sad.

ERA failed to keep up with the times. Failed to serve all their members, just focusing on the top few big spenders. Failed to incorporate new technologies and new ways of selling into the equation. They lost their relevance, ran out of oxygen and died.

So, as I mourn my good friend of 28 years, I reflect on the good memories, the friends and colleagues, the career that I would not have, had I not befriended ERA. But let’s keep alive the community and camaraderie that was forged through ERA. And let’s do this as an industry together.

Perhaps this death, as many deaths do, will even bring us closer together as an industry.

Good by, old friend. Eternal thanks.  I will miss you.

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BE CREATIVELY FEARLESS IN ADVERTISING AND CONTENT MARKETING

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BE CREATIVELY FEARLESS IN ADVERTISING AND CONTENT MARKETING

By Ava Seavey, Queen Bee, Avalanche Creative Service, Inc.

The world is now a place filled with unlimited messaging and barraging of ads and content outdoors, online, in print, on the radio and on TV. The average person is hit with literally thousands of messages daily. How is it possible to grab attention, create emotion, and create interest?

Being bold and fearless in your creativity is a start. It is something that has been debated by the brand world and the world of DRTV and brand response for decades. But the interesting fact is that the brand and DRTV have blended, so that there is very little that differentiates them, other than the immediacy and urgency of DRTV and the way that media is purchased.

Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube are the ultimate direct response marketing vehicles. The opportunity to speak directly to prospects and customers on a personalized level has never been greater. Yet, mediocrity abounds in all medium, a desire for sameness, and a hesitancy to stand out.

Creativity does not need to be a dramatic shot of someone dangling from a mountaintop, an arty and stunning, exotic visual, a cheap shot at humor, or an effects filled voyage into fantasy. Creativity can be subtle and powerful, with meaning and purpose. The turn of a phrase, a compelling offer, donations to special causes, something just a bit different, but most of all, humanity. Compelling someone to pay attention because you’ve struck a chord in their head, their heart, or their soul, and they can relate. And they identify.

Creativity can be found whether it is a Facebook ad, a blog post, a subject line in an email campaign, or a super bowl ad. It can be found everywhere, in every nook and cranny. In every form of media, either digital or traditional. Give them content; don’t just ask them to buy something. Give them value. Give them something to believe in.

Push the envelope and create something unexpected. Something that makes someone smile, think, or feel alive, is what drives our modern communication. Too often we get caught up in data, analytics and formulas, and we forget that we are communicating with human beings that can think, feel, laugh, weep and be inspired.

To think out of the box is risky. It makes people afraid. It tests the boundaries of their belief systems and of everything they thought was comfortable and proper.

To not think out of the box is far riskier. To risk being invisible is a far greater risk.

Stand up. Speak up. Take risks. You might strike out, but you tried. Babe Ruth struck out a lot as he broke records hitting home runs. If you can get up to the plate, take that big swing.

Ava Seavey is president of Avalanche Creative Services, Inc., a creative shop that produces TV, radio, print and digital advertising.

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I’m posting like crazy on Facebook, so why is no one seeing my posts and why am I not selling any products?

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I’m posting like crazy on Facebook, so why is no one seeing my posts and why am I not selling any products?

For any serious marketers, being on social media and engaging with customers is mandatory in this digital age, like it or not.

The consumer journey now involves so many different touch points and interacting with customers has never been more crucial than it is on Facebook, where comments are visible when prospects are exploring your brand.

But, hold your horses. You are paying a fortune to people to post engaging content on Facebook and you are getting likes and comments, but few people are seeing it and no one is buying. Why?

There is a difference between advertising and PR. PR Is great for brand awareness, but it won’t sell product. Organic posting on Facebook is more like PR. However, advertising on Facebook is a whole different ball game.

Facebook’s organic reach has been steadily in decline since 2013 at least, with the average organic post reaching less than 2% of fans who have liked the page. This is intentional on Facebook’s part in order to encourage advertising.

Placing ads on Facebook will guarantee that your content is seen, not only by fans, but by prospects as well. And an ad can ask for the order and give compelling reasons to do so, the way it is in traditional media.

Whether you are simply boosting posts or have a more complex ad campaign, buying advertising is a more sure fired way to get you seen than designing campaigns to create engagement.

Both advertising and PR can work together (organic and paid ads), but to just expect sales from organic posts and hoping that something may go “viral” is not a strategy that will work for many brands, especially those on a budget.

Now with Facebook’s recent announcement that it will cut back dramatically on marketer’s posts, your content will be seen even less. And they have even warned about tactics to encourage comments to posts to get better rankings will be cracked down on and discouraged. So what is a marketer to do?

Buy ads on Facebook. Direct selling on Facebook through ads has been a sure fire way to get leads and sales and it will continue to be a great source of revenue. And those organic posts for marketers? They just may be going the way of the Betamax.

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Internet ad revenue more than TV revenue for first time ever!

Today in Direct Response, there was an article that said “U.S. interactive advertising revenue hit an all-time high in 2013 of $42.8 billion, surpassing broadcast television advertising revenues ($40.1 billion) for the first time ever, says the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).” Wow! That’s unbelievable. So what does that mean for direct to consumer marketers? Maybe they should think about not only WHAT their message is, but WHERE is it going to be seen. If more people are seeing ads online, how strong is your internet marketing program? Have you explored the various channels available to you via digital direct response? The fact is that only a small fraction your website visitors will make a purchase upon their first visit and many will never return. What are you doing to create ongoing communication with your prospects to increase your conversions? Email? Retargeting? If you’re not taking advantage of the opportunities available to you, you’re missing a great deal of opportunity. Learn more about how Avalanche Creative can help you capitalize on the many opportunities available especially when combining traditional DRTV with a customized digital marketing solution for your business.